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Best Practices for Creating a Gen Z Idealistic Internship Program

by Logan Derosia | Mar 30, 2022

“Intern season” is upon us! While companies in KC gear up to create the ultimate summer intern experience, it’s important to keep the generation that will be filling this year’s intern class top of mind - Gen Z.

Gen Zers are ready to hit the workforce and are on track to take over the economy in a decade according to Business Insider. This is the first digitally native generation. And they are already using their tech savvy interests to drive consumer behavior - the explosion of TikTok for example.

After experiencing and witnessing the effects of the pandemic, Gen Zers are not afraid to go for what they want in a career and are unwilling to settle on a job that feels unfulfilling. If they are not satisfied with their job they will leave. In fact, 91% of Gen Zers reported that they were keen to switch jobs. From a “total rewards” perspective, there is a heightened focus on social issues and values in the workplace, as well as mental health days and flexibility in setting hours. 

As you’re locking in your summer interns and cultivating an epic internship program, here are two key tips to keep in mind: 

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The Power of Mentorship
Gen Z is all about creating meaningful and authentic connections. While your interns may be managed by and receive feedback from a mid- or senior level employee, it’s also helpful to assign a junior level employee as a mentor or “buddy” to each intern. This assists in creating a more attuned environment where interns feel safe to ask questions and accentuate professional growth and development..

 

Setting up weekly meetings that involve engaging activities such as grabbing a coffee, attending off-site meetings or even going for a walk can be a great way to kick-off this mentorship.

Setting Clear Goals
Gen Zers want to feel aligned with the company’s mission and that they are contributingInterns meaningful work during the length of their internship. Taking the time to clearly outline how interns can do this by setting goals and workloads will result in a more focused and driven employee. Doing this with your intern can also be a fun exercise in doing things differently as they ask questions and challenge processes.

Pro tip: Work with your intern to clearly define the beginning, middle and end to projects they are working on.

Make sure to sign up for TeamKC’s Intern Toolkit, built to ensure your interns will get the best KC experience and connect with Angela Kennedy to discuss creating custom content for your intern class.

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